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Giovanni Van Bronckhorst hails Rangers mentality to reach Europa League last 16

Rangers v Borussia Dortmund – UEFA Europa League – Playoff – Second Leg – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst praised Rangers’ perfect mentality after the Gers battled past Borussia Dortmund and into the Europa League last 16 with a dramatic 6-4 aggregate win at Ibrox.

Leading 4-2 from the first leg in Dortmund, Light Blues skipper James Tavernier scored from the spot in the 22nd minute but goals from England international Jude Bellingham and striker Donyell Malan had the Bundesliga visitors ahead at the interval.

The Dutchman brought on Leon Balogun for Borna Barisic and went to a back three for the second half and in a more composed performance Tavernier restored parity in the 57th minute and the 2-2 draw resulted in one of the finest European outcomes in the club’s history.

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Awaiting the draw on Friday, Van Bronckhorst said: “You start with belief. Of course we have huge respect for the opposition because they are a big team, they play in the Champions League finals and challenge for German titles so we knew it was going to be difficult.

“There are always moments in games when you have to dig deep and make sure you overcome these moments.

“We had them last week and we had them today but we reacted really well, also the switch of system but I think our mentality today was perfect and the spirit we showed was fantastic and my message before the game was that this is a night when we could make everyone proud, involved with this beautiful club and we did.”

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Asked about Rangers’ chances for the rest of the tournament, Van Bronckhorst said: “We knew it was going to be difficult to overcome this draw which we did so I am very happy that we did it.

“The last 16 is only big teams but the most important thing is we have to have the belief to be able to compete against anyone.

“But we also need two performances, the first one was away which gave us a two-goal lead and today we had another massive performance.

James Tavernier

James Tavernier (left) scored both goals for Rangers (Jane Barlow/PA)

“If you don’t have your night in European football, especially in the last 16, it is going to be very difficult.

“Our aim is to see the draw tomorrow, it is going to be two good nights but as long as we have two good nights again we are able to go through but it is going to be tough.

“Of course if you can beat Dortmund away and you can have a good result at home it has to give you confidence.

“We are facing tough opposition in the next round, it is  a good moment to challenge ourselves but we have to get good performances again, that is our goal.”

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